Meet Joe Rogan

The popular podcaster and comedian brings his grievances on American politics and pop culture to town for two shows this Saturday.

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This weekend, stand-up comedian, UFC commentator, and professional podcaster Joe Rogan will be performing his latest comedy set, Strange Times, at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. Those who don’t care for stand-up comedy, mixed martial arts, or conversational podcasts might think Rogan doesn’t have an impact on their lives. But they’d be wrong.

The Joe Rogan Experience is downloaded more than 100 million times a month. Its episodes are usually three hours long, and consist of Rogan talking with his guest about pretty much anything the guest wants to talk about. Rogan is enthusiastic and frank. His favorite topics are martial arts, bow hunting, documentaries, drug-use experiences, health fads, workout routines, folk psychology, conspiracy theories about society, and alternative theories about the universe. For otherwise apolitical listeners, the podcast is a gateway to broader national debates about identity, bigotry, and the “purposeful life” outlook (Warning: potentially offensive language usage in the video).

Rogan is an interesting and inquisitive podcast host. He’s good at asking questions most of us want answered, but are too squeamish to ask because we’re afraid of looking stupid. Rogan has no such fear. He’s been called a “smart stupid guy,” and he’s earned that first signifier by being curious about seemingly everything.

Rogan on stage is much like he is on the podcast. Affable, congenial, relatively harmless. There’s nothing groundbreaking about his stand-up, which slides from raising his three daughters to how smart (and malevolent) dolphins are. With the right cretinous guest on his podcast, Rogan can come off as a cretin. Alone on stage, he’s no better or worse than the rest of us—perhaps his most attractive quality.

Most of his grievances with American politics and culture are the typical reactionary ones: Modern art is low, degrading, and pretentious. “Identity politics” and “political correctness” are absurd and slyly tyrannical. Universities are repositories for bad ideas. The modern man—who no longer has to spend his days catching food and building shelters—is weak compared to his prehistoric counterpart. Masculinity has been debased. People are getting lazier.

In a way, Rogan is the embodiment of the 21st century’s response to the 20th. In the online era, we don’t need the expert, the propagandist, or the strongman to manipulate and betray us. We can do all that ourselves now.

Joe Rogan — Strange Times Tour. Saturday, June 24 at 8pm and 10:30pm, Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. Tickets are available.

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